Category Seafood

Raw Citrus Salad

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f you’ve been (un)lucky enough to experience the heat wave that swept the UK last week then you’ll probably agree that appetites change from being food dominant to a welcome craving for frosty, cold and delicious beers. Iced rose if thats more your thing, or perhaps just a freshly made lemonade in the sunshine. However, food still has its place but freshness, lightness and nothing too heavy takes the culinary crown. This salad was perfect after what was probably the hottest day of the year so far. After trawling over London for a meeting – which at the time felt dramatically reminiscent of a desert voyage – I was in no fit state for cooking anything too warm later that evening….

This therefore seemed the perfect opportunity to make a fresh salad but one to replenish the nutrients. And time to crack out an ingredient that’s been waiting patiently in my pantry for the past few months. A little gift from overseas from the Norwegian’s.  I’ve not seen a oil like this before but have been delighting in it since. Whilst I’ve tried flavoured oils in the past which I’ve found to be either bland or synthetic, this little oil/balsamic combo – mandarin oil with an epic peach and apricot balsamic – served neat and combined in equal measures with some crusty bread for dipping was amazing! I instantly thought seafood, fennel, and raw salads….after thoughts of frosty beers and rose. I did mention it was very hot…

With a lack of garden space or even a balcony in London (sympathy welcomed) there was sadly no place for a BBQ here. But if you do then this would be an amazing salad served with charred barbecued squid or octopus. Or keep it simple and griddle your asparagus or sea bass. The smoky bbq flavour is perfect for anything citrus here.

Like I said, its a meal for a hot day…minimal effort, more an assembly of flavours. Feel free to add in any other ingredients of choice or fish and seafood.

*NOTE – if you’ve no time to pop to Norway for these delights, a really good extra virgin olive oil with either a generous squeeze of lemon/lime/orange would work a treat. Try adding a few very thin slices of orange segments or grated zest too. Blood orange if you’re feeling extravagant.

Serve 2

  • 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears
  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced wafer thin (using a mandolin if you have one)
  • 1 handful walnuts, toasted and lightly crushed
  • Small bunch fresh basil and mint, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon/orange/lime
  • Extra virgin olive oil and 1 orange OR flavoured citrus oil or equivalent to above
  • 2 sea bass fillets (or as above, squid, octopus etc)
  1. Hest a frying pan/griddle pan to medium high and add a splash of light olive oil. Griddle the asparagus spears to just take off the rawness for a few minutes until beginning to char. Season and remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the celery, shaved fennel, toasted walnuts and finely chopped herbs.
  3. When the asparagus spears have cooled a little, add them to bowl.
  4. Season and grate in the zest of half the lemon.
  5. The next bit if up to you. Add the citrus oil, and the juice of half a lemon or add the juice of an orange/lime and some plain, extra virgin olive oil. Its all about taste. You need a fresh citrus flavour but it needs to be balanced.
  6. Set aside once done. Fry your fish and serve atop your fresh salad.

I served mine alongside some roasted carrots …I’ll admit this isn’t supporting the cooling and ‘non hassle’ trend I championed above. What can I say, the frosty beer worked a treat…

  • Slice 2-3 large carrot into chunky diagonal chunks
  • Season and drizzle with olive oil
  • Scatter with 1 tbsp of cumin seeds
  • Roast for about 25 minutes until starting to caramelise and soften. Check after this time and leave in longer if needed.
  • 5 minutes before they look ready, add 1 btsp running honey and combine. roast for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and served, slightly cooled, with your citrus salad (also lovely to add chopped parsley and crumbled feta/goats cheese)

 

Chorizo & Butterbean Stew

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his recipe is the absolute ideal for a balmy, summer provoking Monday night after work. My mind battled with the joys of staying out in the sun as long as possible and the equal craving for some kitchen relaxation that only stirring a pan with a wooden spoon can bring. Ideal for a speedy but flavoursome dinner that can be knocked up in minutes for one, for two, or for many and tomorrows leftovers.  Admittedly my holiday blues were kicking in….so the Med influence snuck back to the kitchen.

Mediterranean food is not usually my cuisine of choice but having spent last week in Corfu on a grounding, enlightening and entertaining yoga retreat (Just Relax Yoga retreats) dining on gorgeous vegetarian tapas and authentic Greek dishes, it solidified my theory that you only need just a few star ingredients to make a knock out dish. After many a beer one night in the Greek sun and a hunger like a pig on a diet, me and the yogis frantically ordered a table full of tapas. Now it may…may have been the hunger and hanger that made it more memorable but when a glutinous bowl of giant butter beans bathed and hugged in a smooth creamy tomato sauce was placed in front of me, I was in heaven. Devine. I’ll admit, the butter beans were twice the size in Greece but beggars can’t be choosers in London eh? After a week in Greece I was keen to get something similar into my regime…

Serves 2

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 400-500g chopped tomatoes (1 can or carton)
  • 150g chorizo, diced/cubed
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, light toasted then crushed
  • 1 x can butter beans, drained
  • Bunch basil and parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 x sea bream or a white fish fillet of choice.
  1. Soften the onion in a little olive oil in a saucepan for about 10 minutes until translucent and starting to caramelise.
  2. Add the chorizo and the garlic and cook for a few more minutes until the chorizo is beginning to crisp and release its oils.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, crushed fennel seed and some generous seasoning.
  4. Simmer until reduced a little for 5 minutes or so.
  5. Add the drained butter beans and heat through.
  6. Simmer until reduced to a stew like texture. Taste and season as needed.
  7. Finally add the lemon zest and herbs and stir to combine.
  8. Serve with fried or grilled fish and a scattering of leftovers herbs and lemon! (Gremolata is wanted)

Scallops and Herb Crusted Cod

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ast weekend really did spark the start of a British summer…hopefully….Blues skies, dog walks, reading in the garden and cheeky trips to the local pub. Although they’re never cheeky in our household. More of a requirement. I escaped home to Wiltshire for the briefest of visits. Just 36 hours but I packed them full with foodie treats. Gorgeous weather means simple, fresh food. Torn between my love of the kitchen and my sun worshipping, I found a speedy recipe to prepare for Saturday supper. Time to indulge in the kitchen but also to balance my sunbathing. Priorities.

Jazz and apron on, cool white Muscadet in hand….recommendations below….

Music to cook to: St Germain – Tourist (see here)

Wine recommendation: Muscadet or something zesty and fresh! Recommended from Armit Wines specifically is my favourite- Bianca di Evro Inzolia, a Sicilian wine (see here)

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n the topic of wine (I feel like I say that a lot) I’d eat this starter with a zesty, fresh, citrus wine. Nothing flashy….Muscadet is perfect. After a planned and cheeky G&T(sssssss) at the local pub in the setting sunshine pre dinner, this starter was very much a miracle on its own let alone anything too time consuming or thought provoking. A classic combination I’ll admit but I wasn’t looking for a trophy for originality. I did however omit the generic bacon wafer or chorizo cubes….whilst admittedly it was because I was too gin fuelled to bother, I did in fact pass it off as unnecessary to my guests but I do in fact agree (…with myself…) it is! It doesn’t need it. The greens, lemon, a Muscadet and the hearty fried capers are perfectly indulgent enough and allow the scallops to take the show without bacon raining on the parade.

Scallops and Greenery 

Ingredients (serves 4 as a starter)

  • 12-16 scallops (roe removed if wanted)
  • Large bunch rocket
  • 300g ish peas (frozen)
  • Bunch mint leaves, picked
  • 2 large knobs butter
  • 1 heaped tbsp capers
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Boil the peas for a few minutes. Drain immediately and add to the bowl of a food processor. Add the mint, seasoning and 1 large knob of butter. Blend until smooth – or chunky, mine was rustic. If too thick, add a splash of milk. Set aside and keep warm.
  2. Get a sharing platter and scatter over the rocket. Squeeze over just a little of the lemon juice.
  3. Season the scallops and heat a splash of oil and the rest of the butter in a frying pan until hot.
  4. Add the scallops and fry on a high heat for just a few minutes each side until golden brown. For the last minute, add the capers and fry briefly.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add a good squeeze of lemon (it will sizzle). Baste the scallops in the buttery juice.
  6. Serve immediately. Spoon 12-16 spoonfuls of the pea puree onto the rocket and top each with a juicy golden scallops. Drizzle with the buttery capers and juices. Serve!

This next recipe is very easy but again and complements a pub visit. However, I did do a little pre pub prep just to make sure.

Herb Crusted Cod with Puy Lentils and Balsamic Onions 

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 fillets of cod/haddock/hake (or any meaty white fish)
  • 2 slices brown bread
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 x packets (or bunches) of parsley (I used 1 bunch flat leaf and 1 bunch curly)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 8oz Puy lentils
  • 2 large red onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Serves 4 

  1. Begin by making the crust. Blitz the bread in a food processor into crumbs. Add the garlic, the herbs and the zest of the lemon. Season and blend until everything is chopped and combined finely.
  2. Add the egg and blend again.
  3. Cut your fish into 4 fillets. Take a good spoonful of the herb topping – it should be fairly sticky with the bread and the egg – and compact onto the top of each fillet. Chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes until needed.
  4. Preheat the over to 190°C.
  5. Meanwhile, simmer the Puy lentils for about 20 minutes until just cooked and tender but with a bite. Drain and keep warm. Season.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a frying pan and gently sweat the onions for a good 10 minutes until soft. Start to add some colour until caramelised. Season.
  7. Turn the heat up a little and add the balsamic which should sizzle and begin to reduce. Coat the onions then remove from the heat.
  8. Tip the balsamic red onions into the warm lentils and stir to combine.
  9. Remove the fish from the fridge about 5 minutes before ready to cook. Place on a greased or lined baking tray, and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet (15 minutes for those sized above).
  10. Remove from the oven when just cooked and beginning to flake. the fish will keep cooking when removed from the oven with the residual heat so don’t over cook initially.
  11. Place a spoonful of the lentils into deep warm serving bowls and top with the fish. Serve with a good wedge of lemon for squeezing over the crunchy crust! Enjoy!

Fennel and Sumac Seabass

 

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love fennel. I love sumac. I love sea bass. This will be a short blog post. If you’re new to sumac its commonly found as a pretty pink powder made from berries that are dried and ground and has a lovely tart/sour taste to give a sharp kick. Lovely sprinkled on flavoured yoghurts, in flatbreads, on humus or rubbed lovingly into chicken, vegetables and meats. Controversially it could be a bit pungent for delicate sea bass but its lemony flavour is a lovely match.

Being one of Ottolenghi’s favourite spices…need I say more….

Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp fennel seed
  • 1/2 tbsp sumac (see here but this can be found in all supermarkets)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 seabass fillet (or sea bream/other white fish fillets)
  1. Dry toast the fennel seed in a dry hot frying pan until fragrant. Remove from the heat and add to a pestle and mortar. Grind well.
  2. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Score the sea bass fillets with a single cut on the skin side to avoid curling while cooking. Then massage the fennel into each fillet and a pinch of the sumac (the remainder of the sumac is best sprinkled on after) with a splash or oil. Leave to rest until needed
  4. When ready to cook, heat a frying pan on medium high. Fry skin side dow for 2-3 minutes until he flesh side is beginning to turn white.
  5. Turn and finish the cooking for 30seconds – 1 minute.
  6. Remove from the pan and sprinkle with the ground sumac and a good wedge of lemon juice!

 

Chana Dahl and Flatbread

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e all know our favourite comfort foods on a cold, challenging day or just after a bit of a tough one be it winter or summer. They usually consist of English favourites like bangers and mash or a hearty pie. Mine vary throughout the seasons but usually consist of a creamy coconut rice topped with Asian salmon (recipe here) or a big bowl of fish soup. But dahl is another comfort food altogether and one that so effortlessly lives up to the job.

There are many types of dahl, made from varying pulses. Having sampled ‘Dishmoon‘s’ infamous black dahl I’ve been on a quest to make a rival recipe! I religiously order it with every visit to Dishoom. I even have a colleague who orders a portion with the bill so he gets a bowl ‘to go’. Its that good! However, I’ll be confidently honest here and admit that my attempt at a black dahl (recipe here) ticked the box for me in terms of flavour and decadence.

However, this variation is suitably named as ‘Speedy dahl’. The flavour is there but you don’t get the depth that you get from a slow cooked and infused recipe with commitment of time and love. So, after a long run around London last Sunday afternoon, a cold bitter chill in the air and a deserving appetite I set my pan on the hob to master a new recipe. Serve in bowlfuls with roti, naan, chapatis or flatbread alone or refined here with a piece of elegantly friend sea bass, it’ll offer the comfort you need. Its a hug in a bowl…..

Serves 4

  • 3 tsp cumin and coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil 
  • onion, finely chopped
  • Knob ginger (about 35g), finely pounded with a pestle & mortar/grated
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely pounded with a pestle & mortar/grated
  • 1/2 can chopped tomatoes
  • 600ml coconut milk
  • 250g yellow split peas (rinsed well)
  • 3-4 small green chillies, finely chopped
  • fresh curry leaves
  • 1-2 limes
  • Coriander, roughly chopped
  1. To start, drain the split peas well in 4-5 changes of water then allow them to sit in a bowl of water while you start the dahl.
  2. Dry fry the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds in a hot frying pan until fragrant. Next pound in a pestle and mortar.
  3. Add the turmeric, garam masala and set aside
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a hot frying pan and sweat the onion of ragout 10 minutes until soft and beginning to carmalise.
  5. Next add the ginger, garlic and chopped chillies and cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Add the dry spices (and a touch more coconut oil if needed) and stir all to combine, frying the spiced onions for 2-3 minutes more.
  7. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and the curry leaves. Drain the split peas and add these too.
  8. Bring to the simmer and then allow to bubble slowly and gently for about 1 – 1.1/2 hours (alternatively pop in a low 150°C oven with a lid on) until the split peas become tender and begin to break down. Keep an eye on it while it simmers so it doesn’t catch on the bottom. Add a touch of water if its drying out.
  9. After this time and the lentils are soft, remove from the heat. Use a potato masher to gently ‘mush’ the lentils into a paste. This is just to make it thicker, you don’t need to aim for a smooth dahl.
  10. Taste and season well and add the juice of at least 1 lime or more if required. It should lift the taste of the whole dahl.
  11. Scatter with the coriander and the dahl is ready to serve!

I served mine with fennel seed flatbreads (recipe here). Amend the spice/seeds as needed.

Cheesy Breaded Hake

T

his recipe is a perfect Monday night dinner to start the week on a healthy note and get some flavour after perhaps (I mean I’m just suggesting….) a boozy weekend…ahem..? The fresh delicate flavour of the fish, the slight decadence of the greasy fried cheesy breadcrumbs with a good squeeze of lemon and the sharp tang of a few gooey capers satisfied all my cravings in one. With a fresh crunchy salad with yet more lemon it cheered a soggy Monday after what was the worst day of rain we’ve had in long time. So after laying out my running shoes and the entire contents of my running rucksack to dry I cracked on with priority two….dinner.

I’ve left the measurements vague. Its really dependant on how many you’re cooking for and how cheesy you like it. And I’ll admit, after a soaking run home I wasn’t really in the mood to measure for the sake of this blog post as that really does take away the ease and love of this recipe for  Monday night. No rules, no orders, just guidelines…..Experiment!

  • White fish fillets – use a meaty fish here. I used hake but cod, haddock, tilapia, whiting, monkfish etc all work too (skinned)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Parsley, chopped roughly (reserve a handful for garnish)
  • Lemon, zest and juice (1 between 2)
  • Egg, beaten (Around 1 per fillet)
  • Plain flour
  • 1 heaped 2tsp capers per person
  • Sunflower oil, 1 large knob butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C..
  2. Place the flour in a small bowl and the beaten egg in another.
  3. The measurements for the coating are loose….use as many breadcrumbs as you require for the number of fish fillets. Use about a quarter of the weigh in breadcrumbs for the cheese and as much parsley as you dare. One very large handful of breadcrumbs usually accommodates 1 fillet but it depends on size and if you’re double dipping (see step 4)! Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  4. Taking your fish fillets, dip first in the flour and dust off the excess then dip in the egg. Then plunge the fillets straight into the breadcrumbs and coat well. Repeat with a second layer of egg and breadcrumbs if you like a thick coating. It will be a messy job, press the coating into the fish as best you can.
  5. Place the fillets on a plate and chill for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat a large deep saucepan with a good layer of sunflower oil and a knob of butter.
  7. When hot but not smoking, add your chilled fish fillets and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Flip and repeat until you have a toasted solid golden crust. Either continue to cook throughout in the pan or finish in the oven until cooked to your liking (depends on the fish size but around 7-8 minutes).
  8. Whilst finishing cooking or whilst the fish rests, chop the capers roughly with the remaining parsley. Add the zest of the lemon and combine. Garnish over the crispy fillets with half a wedge of lemon on the side to squeeze over.

Serve with fresh vegetable, salad or some big sweet potato wedges. A tartare sauce wouldn’t go amide here either…or a lemony yoghurt. Being in the wine trade, I’m also dying to advise a wine that would go perfectly here but seeing as its Monday and a healthy start I won’t. But if you were to open a bottle of something sharp and zesty like a Chenin Blanc then you wouldn’t be going far off…ahem….cheers.

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Sticky Salmon-Pineapple Kebabs, Thai black rice salad

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‘m always surprised at the amount of people who are surprised at the flavour that rice can have on its own without additional added flavours. If you pick the right rice that is. If you’re used to the same old white or even brown rice then venture out! I use red French Camargue rice as my staple now due to its wonderful nutty flavour but after stumbling over some Thai black rice recently which fell into my innocent shopping basket I had a salad on the mind. A dark and nutty flavour goes wonderfully with Thai flavours and fruits. Try mango and prawns, basil and coriander (see here) which was my initial intention. However as a nod to the gorgeous weather this weekend a barbeque inspired kebab was required. Seeing as my garden-lacking London flat could not supply my bbq needs, a sticky, sweet and if you cook the salmon well, oh so tender kebab a top this fresh and herby Thai rice salad suited Sunday evening down to the ground. Cold beer to accompany and the BAFTAS.

Serves 2 (make 4 skewers)

  • 2 salmon fillets, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 fresh pineapple, cubed into 2cm chunks
  • Broccoli florets (about 6-8)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 large tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp runny honey
  • Small knob ginger, grated
  • 4 oz Thai black rice
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • Bunch coriander, chopped (save some for garnish)
  • 2 sheets nori seaweed, cut into small 1 cm wide pieces or strips (optional)
  • 1 lime
  • 4 skewers (soaked in water for 20 minutes)
  1. Combine the soy sauce, sesame, honey and ginger in a bowl and mix well
  2. Marinade the salmon chunks, broccoli florets and pineapple chunks in this mixture for 1 hour in the fridge.
  3. After 1 hour, prepare your skewers. Feed alternating salmon and pineapple and broccoli chunks onto each. Set aside on a line baking tray and chill. Preheat the oven to 180°C.Jess - Salmon Asian KebabsJess - Salmon Asian Kebabs2
  4. Meanwhile make the rice salad. Simmer the rice for around 25 minutes until just cooked with a little bite.
  5. While this is cooking toasted the coconut in a dry frying pan until just bringing to turn golden. Watch it as it catches easily. When fragrant, remove and add to a bowl.
  6. Combine with the chopped spring onions, coriander and the chopped nori sheets.
  7. When the rice is ready, drain well. Immediately add the bowl of coconut and herbs and squeeze in the juice of the lime. Place a lid on top and keep warm.
  8. Remove the salmon skewers from the fridge and heat a frying pan until hot and add a tsp of oil.
  9. Sear the skewers on both sides to get a lovely caramelised effect all over. Add the rest of the marinade to the pan (it will sizzle) and then immediately transfer the skewers and the pan juices to the baking tray. Pop in the oven for 5 minutes to finish the cooking.
  10. Meanwhile, plate up the rice in warm serving dishes. After 5 minutes check the salmon is tender and cooked through but just pink and remove from the oven. Top your Thai rice salad with the kebabs and any extra chopped coriander to garnish.

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‘Kedgeree’ restyled

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edgeree restyled = Smoked haddock, chive and parsley risotto topped with samphire, pan fried curried haddock loin, soft poached egg and sourdough crispy crumbs.

A modern take on kedgeree if you like and a recipe thats been on my ‘testing’ list for little under a year? I often come up with ideas of dishes that I want to experiment with but there are never enough meals in the week, pounds in the purse or free blog appropriate evenings to do so. But as I sit and indulge in the Masterchef final I write this post and realise the influence this years competition has had on my food. Restaurant worthy presentation for an otherwise hearty, homely supper. But with all the elements of a traditional kedgeree (smoked fish, eggs, rice and curry) its a winner on flavour combination.

I used poached duck eggs here instead of the traditional boiled egg as I don’t know anyone or any dish that doesn’t benefit from a cascade of delicious vibrant orange yolk. But with the soft texture of the egg, fish and risotto, some crispy baked sourdough breadcrumbs are the perfect textural contrast. Also feel free to use cod or any other meaty white fish.

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Serves 2

  • 200g (or two large handfuls) risotto rice
  • 750ml hot fish stock
  • 1 shallot, diced finely
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 50g butter
  • 125ml dry white wine
  • Handful chives, chopped
  • Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 2 haddock fillets
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 large filler of smoked haddock (skin removed), chopped into cubes
  • 1 fresh duck eggs
  • 1 x packet samphire (enough for two)
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  1. Start by rubbing the haddock fillets with the curry powder. Season and set aside until ready to cook. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place the sourdough breadcrumbs on a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil and season. Toast in the oven for about 10 minutes until crispy and golden. Remove and set aside until serving.
  3. For the risotto, melt half the butter and a tsp of oil in a saucepan. Add the shallot and soften over a gentle heat until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and soften for another minute or so.
  4. Turn up the heat and add the rice. Toast for a few minutes until beginning to turn a little translucent too. Add the wine and simmer away until fully absorbed. Have the fish stock hot and ready in a nearby saucepan. Keeping the risotto at a gentle simmer add ladle by ladle of the stock to the risotto making sure it doesn’t dry out. You may or may not need all the stock but you want to simmer for 18-20 minutes until the rice is cooked and you have a thick but still oozing consistency.
  5. When the rice is cooked add the chunky cubes of smoked haddock and stir through until cooked. The fish will turn white quickly as it cooks in the hot rice (a matter of minutes). It will flake apart when done so use a fork to flake it through to distribute amongst the risotto.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the remaining butter, the chopped herbs and the lemon zest and juice. Add plenty of black pepper and salt to taste. Once the butter has melted, stir all to combine. Place a lid on top and set aside to keep warm.
  7. Meanwhile, steam the samphire for 3 minutes and keep warm.
  8. Get a frying pan really hot and add a splash of oil and at the same time heat a pan of boiling water for the eggs bringing it to a gentle simmer.
  9. Fry the curried haddock fillets for 1 minute on each side in the frying pan, just to get the coating golden and crisp before adding to the oven and cooking through for about 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.
  10. In this 5 minutes, poach the eggs. Turn the water down to a gentle simmer and crack your duck eggs into the water. Poach for a few minutes just until the white is set but the yolk is still runny and soft to touch when tested. Remove using a slotted spoon and rest while your plate the rest of the elements.
  11. When ready to plate up make sure you have some pre warmed serving bowls. Serve a generous spoonful of oozing risotto into the middle. Top with a handful of samphire and then the cooked curried haddock. Top with one of your poached eggs and crack over some black pepper. Drizzle with any curried oil leftover in the baking try from the curried fish and scatter with a handful or crispy sourdough breadcrumbs.
  12. Serve!

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Bream, Fennel, Prawn Bisque

Jess - bream

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struggle with choosing my ‘last meal’ when asked on occasion but a bouillabaisse, bisque or seafood dish comes high up there with my true foodie loves hence my adoration of this simple bisque sauce. I have previously blogged this but due to its rich and deep flavour it only requires a simple and fuss free accompaniment so served here with roasted fennel and bream its devine. I am always staggered and amazed at the amount of flavour that the otherwise wasted shells and heads of the prawns make to a sauce! Such a depth of traditional flavours. Topped with fennel, simply fried fish and the meaty rewards of the prawns its a simple weekend feast that takes relatively no time, just some organisation, prep and speed and focus on delivery! Voila…

Note the lack of carb here purely due to the richness of the rest of the ingredients. But this would be lovely served with some buttery chive mash as seen here or with a thickly sliced and toasted sour dough crouton and punchy rouille seen here.

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Serves 4

  • 1 x Prawn bisque recipe (see here) using about 12 large, shelled king prawns (see note for shelling and deveining prawns)
  • 4 sea bream fillets
  • 2 bulbs fennel, halves vertically
  • Small glass white wine
  • Handful parsley and chives, chopped finely
  • 1 large bag spinach
  • 1 knob butter
  • 1 lemon

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  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with foil. Add the halved fennel bulbs and season well. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and then pour over the white wine. Roast for about 40 minutes until tender and beginning to char.Jess - fennel
  2. Make the sauce as per the instructions and keep warm while you cook the seafood.
  3. When the sauce is done and warming and the fennel is cooked the next few steps need to be done quickly so ensure that everything else is ready to go and at hand. I advise that you pop your serving dish (shallow bowls recommended) in the oven at this point so that they are warm on serving.
  4. Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Cut each bream fillet in half and then score the skin to prevent it curling up on the hot pan. Season. When the oil is hot, add the fish skin side down and then throw in your cleaned shelled prawns.
  5. Cook skin side down for about 2-3 minutes until he flesh on top is only pink in the centre and the flesh is starting to cook through. Add the knob of butter to the pan and flip the prawns and the fish and finish the cook for a final minute coating in the butter. Add the lemon before removing the prawns and fish from the pan and setting aside for 1 minute to rest while you cook the spinach.
  6. Add the spinach to remaining pan oil and butter and wilt as you like.
  7. To serve, place a handful of the spinach in the base of your serving bowl and top with a wedge of the fennel.
  8. Top each with two halves of the bream.
  9. Roll the prawns briefly in the chopped herbs and arrange around the outside.
  10. Finally, spoon over around 4 tbsp of the sauce around the dish and scatter with any leftover herbs.

Jess - bream3

NOTE: To shell and devein a prawn. Take your raw prawn and crudely snap off the head and set aside. Now take the legs and peel outwards away from the body. The prawn has a thin and plastic like shell which peels away easily. You should be able to take this off in one piece, legs and tail too but its usually required broken into pieces. Set these aside too and then rinse the prawn in cold water.

Deveining is important. It removes the outer backbone intestinal vein which is unpleasant and unprofessional to leave in and eat. With a sharp knife carefully slice down the back of the peeled prawn vertically only cutting about 2mm into the flesh. You should see a black vein. Very carefully as it will break easily, get your knife tip underneath and prize out the vein and discard. The prawns will now also have a fanned outer edge giving the look they have when fried.

Urfa Chilli Salmon, Polenta Chips, Smashed Avocado

I

ts been a long and draining week at work and with Saturday looming and the pressure to make the most of it I could think of nothing better than a casual blogging session in the kitchen to calm the stresses from the week and allow my mind to wonder onto the creative and less challenging. The biggest decision in this recipe was how big to cut the chips!? I went for big naturally.

On reflection, this dish is essentially Mexican fish and chips!? And its for the chilli lovers as its a spicy one so make sure you have a nice cooling beer to hand or at least some soured cream. My inspiration for this one was the cheeky jar of Ottolenghi’s ‘Urfa chilli flakes’ (see here) I received as a gift. What the ‘urfa’ are those you might ask!? Well they are a Turkish medium heat chilli with a smoky flavour. A lovely deep and purposeful taste great for barbecued meats, oily fish, roasted vegetables or chilli con carne. I used them here to coat some moist and succulent salmon fillets. Accompanied with some spicy crisp polenta chips and some smashed green avocado I felt like I bought a bit of Mexico to London. Hopefully one day I can bring a bit of London to Mexico!?

Serves 2

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 2 tsp urfa chilli flakes
  • 1 large avocado
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • Large bunch coriander, chopped
  • Large bunch basil, chopped
  • 1/2 green chilli, finely chopped
  • Juice 1/2 – 1 lime
  • 100g fast cook polenta
  • 500ml chicken stock or water
  • 1 heaped tsp chilli flakes
  • Knob butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sunflower oil

Jess - Urfa Salmon 3Jess - Polenta Chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Oil a bowl/small baking tray or something appropriate to hold your polenta in and allow it to set before cutting into chips.
  2. Start with the polenta. Bring the stock or water to the boil in a saucepan. Mix the polenta, chilli flakes and some salt and pepper in a bowl. In a gentle stream add this polenta to the stock in the saucepan, whisking all the time and turn the heat down to a medium low instantly. Whisk continuously for about 5-7 minutes until the polenta thickens and bubbles. Add the butter and mix in well.
  3. Pour the mixture into the oil lined tray spreading it out into an even layer of about 2inch thickness. Quickly chill by placing in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and then in the fridge and cooling completely until set.
  4. Meanwhile mix the urfa chilli flakes and some salt and pepper with a tablespoon of oil. Rub this on the salmon fillets and leave to marinade at room temperature.
  5. Next, cut the avocado into chunks and use a fork to mash into a chunky paste. Season and then add the spring onion, herbs, lime juice and combine into a chunky paste. Check the taste and add more lime if needed.
  6. When the polenta has set, turn it out onto a chopping board dusted with lots of excess polenta. Chop the set polenta (which should be the texture of halloumi!?) into chip sized chunks and roll in the excess polenta.
  7. Heat a frying pan on a medium high heat and fry the chips in a few tablespoons of sunflower oil until golden brown all over making sure they don’t stick to the pan or catch. Once crispy remove from the pan, scatter with flaky sea salt and set aside to keep warm.
  8. In the same pan cook the salmon on a high heat skin side down for about 1 minutes to crisp the skin. Turn to char the flesh side for about another minute or so before placing in the oven skin side down to finish cooking for no more than 5 minutes to ensure it remains succulent and just pink.
  9. To serve, top the chips with the salmon and spoon on a generous quenelle of avocado. Scatter with extra coriander and chilli flakes if you like

Have some beer or soured cream to hand…

Jess - Urfa Salmon 2